‘The intent is to stay in school. It’s not March 2020’
COVID cases are up in EG schools but with no sign of widespread school spread – most of the cases have been relatively isolated – there is no plan for the district to switch to remote learning, Supt. Alexis Meyer told the School Committee Tuesday night. There were 24 cases of COVID Dec. 6-12 and 23 cases Dec. 13-19, the highest numbers so far this school year.
School Committee member Nicole Bucka asked specifically: Is there any metric the district has in place that would force a move to remote learning?
“At this time the intent is to stay in school. It’s not March 2020,” Meyer said. “Fortunately, we have a high vaccination rate here in East Greenwich.”
Meyer said the only way that would change would be if there was a directive from the Department of Health.
“I feel my children are probably safer in school than in the community,” said Bucka. “There’s some truth to that,” said Meyer, noting the mitigation measures in place (masks, distancing, use of the outdoors). “We’ve all gotten good at doing this.”
That said, “the demands on principals and school nurses are excessive to handle all of this,” Meyer admitted.
Schools will be letting out on Thursday, Dec. 23, until Monday, Jan. 3, for the holiday break. Health officials have warned the COVID Omicron variant is far more transmissible than previous COVID strains. Omicron is already responsible for more than 70 percent of new COVID cases in the U.S., according to the CDC.
At the meeting Tuesday, Meyer alerted people to the Department of Health’s a new data page just for school-age children: covid.ri.gov/kidsdata.
Meyer also reported out the results of the first quarter “Family Feedback” survey. In total, 406 surveys were submitted. The surveys were student-specific, so parents were asked to fill out a different survey for each child. That means surveys were filled out for about 16 percent of the number of students for the district (2,600). In questions ranging from safety, communication, availability of academic and social-emotional resources, and feelings about the future, parents were satisfied or better more than 70 percent of the time, Meyer reported.